10 September 2010

All About Taz

I have a male English bulldog named Taz, short for Tasmanian Devil, the cartoon character. So on with another progress making story, but we aren't quite there with this one and I don't think we will ever be.

You see, Taz is special. We didn't discover this until he was about a year old. It was at a point in time where we realized that he had outgrown Maggie, our female (alpha) English bulldog. You see it coming, right?

After a sudden brawl between the two and a trip to the vet's office, we decided that it was best to keep them separated at all times, because re-attaching Maggie's ear to her head and a $700.00 vet bill was just over the top. That meant separate feeding times, separate walking times, and separate love and affection times. All to be shared with our prissy Yorkshire terrier, Biscuit.

Throughout the past 3 or 4 years, Taz has gotten progressively worse. Not in his aggression toward Maggie, because we don't have them anywhere near each other, but his behavior has become increasingly bazaar.

I first noticed these bazaar behavioral patterns in him when he first displayed an intense fear when a storm suddenly formulated one summer eve. He whined and whimpered and ran behind some boxes in the garage. If you ever seen a 70 pound English bulldog whimper and run, you know how odd that is. I had to stumble back to keep the boxes from falling on me.

I asked my vet about this and he prescribed some medication that was to be administered via a 2 inch syringe the next time a storm hit. It was kind of hard to predict when Taz would need this medication and so eventually it expired.

So we lived with the fact that he'd built himself a safe-haven within the garage, behind those boxes. He would seek shelter whenever he felt the need. It's not that I didn't feel horrible for him, but there just wasn't anything I could think of to do. It's not like you can console a dog with rationale like you can a scared child.

This isn't really the bazaar behavior; it's actually quite common for animals to wig out during thunderstorms. But, the progression of his fear is so bazaar because now he becomes intensely frightened when it's not even thundering. There could be a small cloud in the sky that produces a light sprinkle whose droplets quickly evaporate as soon as they hit the driveway. You can't clear a path quick enough to his bunker that he's built. That is what's not normal.

At some point you would think that fear would subside once it has been proven over and over again that no harm will come from the thunderstorm.

Aside from the increased intensity of fear over the weather, Taz has displayed some more unusual propensities. He lifts his leg and pees on people and defecates in his food bowl. I don't know what to make of this. I'm starting to wonder if he might be a little more "special" today than he was a year ago. And maybe he will just continue to become more and more "special" as time goes by.


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